Film students create movies for competition



Junior Nicollette Arabie gets into place to film one of the final scenes of The Necklace.

Tristan Cole, Editorial Team

When juniors Nicollette Arabie and Emma Cocking asked teacher Melonie Menefee about starting a film group this year to enter the UIL Film Festival, none of them dreamed how many hours they would spend learning new techniques and editing their productions.

“We were pretty ambitious, initially, thinking we would be able to produce two or three narratives, at least one documentary and a couple of animated shorts, but we soon learned that each film was going to take us far more time than we anticipated, especially if we were going to do it right,” Menefee said. “We decided that doing one narrative and one documentary and doing them well would be our best bet. We can expand next year.

The group produced a documentary about the Maestro Arts Project, a group that Menefee and fellow theatre director Katie Villarreal attend each year and that has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of theatre teachers in Texas.

“Our idea changed from what we initially planned, which was about the ghosts at the B&B where Maestro Arts takes place, to being about the project itself, and we are so glad we shifted,” Arabie said. “It is a wonderful story about something that has had a positive impact on our theatre program here as well as many others.”

The group also wrote a script and recruited actors for a narrative film titled The Necklace. The story was about a haunted necklace and a group of friends who died one at a time after finding it.

“We ended up shooting the first part of the movie twice because we figured out things we needed to do better,” Cocking said. “We learned a lot every time we did a shoot, and so next year we will be able to have stronger work from the beginning.”

Now the group has to wait to see if they advance in the film competition.

“I am so proud of the work the students did this year, whether they advance or not,” Menefee said. “They learned new equipment, learned film techniques, learned to edit video, and so many other things to make these films really strong. Advance or not, they did a great job for their first year.”

The Necklace can be viewed at:

The Necklace